Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Other Boy

     The Other Boy Ian Taylor & Rosi Taylor  5/5


     I was given a copy of The Other Boy in exchange for an honest review and figured that I would wait until the day of launch to post this. Here's the deal. You need to click the above link now and pre-order this bad boy so you can begin reading it the day it comes out on November 10. Believe me when I tell you that this is one novella you do not wanna miss. Ian and Taylor have captured something here that goes beyond just your ordinary ghost story and becomes something else entirely. Some might even say it's a bit cliche but you know what? I love horror stories like this and it takes some of the darkest elements of the genre and twists it into something unique. The thing that I love most is that just when you think you have it all figured out you find out you don't.

     The Other Boy isn't a book you can just categorize. The story is less about Will and Alice and more about Toby and what's happening to him. In a book like this you're usually on the outside looking in and you're led to believe that what's happening isn't real. You begin to believe that the character is slightly going crazy, but here you see right away that something is happening, but you don't know why. The Taylor's slowly build up the tension without losing the momentum of the plot. That's where a lot of writers lose their way, but that's clearly not the case here. Everything works seamlessly and it becomes a book you simply can't put down.

     If you're a parent you can sympathize with Will and Alice. We want to protect our kids but what happens when you can't? This is the strength of the novella. These are characters that you can sympathize with and even when it seems as if Alice is truly losing her mind you can't help but rationalize what she's thinking. They wanted to rebuild their marriage after Will's affair so it would make sense for Alice to think that her husband's mistress is the cause of all that's happening. This is a well written horror novella that veers in and out of two different genres. As you read it you see it as a simple haunting, but then you can see that it's clearly a case of possession. While a lot of newer horror novels rely on gore to hook in their readers, The Other Boy goes for psychological terror.

     It's the fear of the unknown that drives this novella. It's the things we can't see that we should be afraid of. If this were a film it would scare the hell out of you. As a book though it's still unsettling and should be read, and read more than once. I would actually give this more than five stars and will place this in my ever growing pile of favorites.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Antichrist Of Kokomo County

The Antichrist Of Kokomo County - David Skinner 4/5


     So say your father and you are told that your son is in fact the Antichrist? What would you do? How would you react? That is the hilarious premise behind David Skinner's debut novel and it's the kind of book that could easily slide into two directions. The first would be a dark twisted novel about the child growing up evil. or you could turn it into a dark black comedy which is what Skinner has done. I received a copy of Antichrist from Netgalley and I was bit intrigued by the premise, but this is a novel that takes quite a few twists and turns and explores what happens when a father is told that he will be great, but ends up being unremarkable, and completely average. This is a guy that never achieves anything and finds out that his son is the Antichrist who also just happens to look like a little old man.

     The story is told through past and present tense but it never becomes boring or overwhelming. These are key pieces to the development of the plot and Skinner is great story teller that brings these characters to life. You feel bad that these parents are purposefully making Sparky stupid so that he doesn't advance into the monster he's destined to become, but at the same time you feel bad for the kid because he's being forced to become just like his father. It's a novel that could easily turn a left and mire itself into mediocrity but it doesn't. It stays true to what it wants to be and that's a black comedy with a bit of a message.

     It pokes a great deal of fun at religion, but so what? It's such an easy target that it becomes rather easy, but in Antichrist it isn't done in a mean way at all, and it's actually the glue that holds this book together. The decisions that Sparky's parents make are in the hopes of saving mankind and as a parent you begin to sympathize with them a bit. They're doing what they think it right even if it's not what anyone else would do.

      This is one of those novels that you just have to read for yourself because there are so many plot twists that if you talk about it too much you run the risk of giving something away. Skinner's first novel is an interesting read that avoids the usual by the numbers fiction. It's funny, and almost offensive, but most of all it's a damn good book.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hung Hounds

      Hung Hounds - Donald Armfield 5/5


      When bizarro fiction is done right it's a true mind bending experience. Imagine for a second taking everything you think you know about writing and throw in a porn star with an enormous schlong, a monkey, some mermaids, and trans dimensional mutts that have huge schlongs. You have a pretty good idea of what you're in for and the kicker is that while you're reading it you never know what to expect. Armfield writes like a kid with ADD and the kid has been handed king sized Pixie Stix. The plot is easy to follow and the beautiful thing about this novel is that it keeps you on your toes. This is a bizarro novel that doesn't just imitate other books, it actually give the genre a much needed kick in the ass.

     The plot seems pretty straight forward, but here is where Armfeld shines. He throws so much at you that you can't help but keep reading just to see how it all ends. He never loses sight of where he wants the novel to go and the characters that he has created only add to the bizarre nature of the story. Our narrator it seems is just thrown into this and he has no clue what he's doing, but that's okay because a lot of times none of the others do either. Only Dawn seems to have a clue as to how to save them all and she is the true hero of Hung Hounds.

     It's not your typical action adventure novel and that's not a bad thing. If you're a fan of bizarro this is a must read and if you've never read a bizarro novel before this is a good place to start because it's a novel that never ceases to be laugh out loud funny and mind blowing. The book is supposed to be about the Hug Hounds but there's way more to it than that. It's a total blast to read, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Hexad - Andrew Lennon & Matt Hickman   5/5

     Sometimes you pick up a title that features a couple of new authors and you begin to see a pattern emerge. One writer is actually better than the other and after awhile you notice that the other writer is carrying the entire book on his shoulders. Ever have that experience? It's not pretty and if anything you wonder how these two people got together in the first place. Was it an idea that they both had and figured fuck it; Let's do a book together! It would be almost as painful as having sex with Rosie O'Donnell. It's a moment you immediately regret and wish you could take back. The book game has changed a lot over the last few years and anyone with a keyboard can self publish a damn book. Widens the landscape for a whole lot of shit sandwiches.

     I'm here to tell you that with Hexad you have nothing to worry about. This is by far one of my favorite horror novels and as I read it I began to see why these two work so well together. There's a nice balance to this book and each story has something for everyone. You like weird and gross there's a story for that, you like stories about a guy that will do anything to protect his family? We got that too. What we have are two guys trying to make a name for themselves and what a fine way to announce your arrival. When you talk about new horror and what types of authors are going to take it to the next level I place them both in my top five.

     They have a style all their own and while Hexad may be a short read, it packs one helluva punch. These are a stories that cover a wide spectrum of horror and they both have talent. I kept waiting for one of them to deliver a bad story but that just didn't happen. Each story is well written and shows that these guys will write about anything and nothing is off limits This is a collection of horror stories that cater to the horror fan. Unapologetic and a lot of fun to read. This right here is exactly why I'm a horror fan and once you read this you'll thank me.

Monday, October 19, 2015

     Dee Snider - Shut Up And Give Me The Mic  - Dee Snider 5/5


     Let's go ahead and get the disclaimer out of the way. This will no doubt contain a lot of foul language because this is the memoir of the legendary Dee mother fucking Snider of the one and only Twisted fuckin' Sister. While Kiss may have been my first foray into heavy metal it was without a doubt the boys in Twisted that blew the doors wide open and showed me just how awesome heavy metal was and could be. I was probably eleven when I was at Kenny Kessler's house and he pulled out this tape of a band that I had never heard of. The label of the tape itself was in German (at the time I had no idea that there were such a thing as imports!), and the music was heavy as fuck and no other band at the time looked like these guys. Talk about groundbreaking!


        I headed to Big Lots to get my own copy of this amazing record which I paid roughly paid three bucks for and the rest is history. Soon the band was all over the place and Twisted fuckin' Sister was everywhere and then a sadly they were gone. When I got word that Dee's story was out I had to read it. Now that I have I have a better understanding of just what happened to Twisted and just how quickly a band can rise and fall. This isn't your normal run of the mill rock bio and Dee is like the metal version of Father's Knows Best. It's an unusual story to say the least but what else would you expect from Dee fuckin' Snider? The man may seem like a metal madman but he makes it clear that he's a family man that doesn't drink alcohol or do drugs and has actually been a happily married man for thirty five years. Not exactly the stereotypical front man, and you get to see that Dee also has a huge ego.

    The one thing that I found interesting was just how honest Snider is. He could easily blame his failures on others but he lays the blame on himself and while most metal and rock bios love to sling a bit of dirt Dee doesn't. You also get the transcript of his testimony of  Senate testimony from the PMRC debacle which surprised a lot of people because Dee was just a metal singer. No one expected him to be articulate and intelligent. The book just covers the Twisted years and goes into post Twisted Sister project such as the Bloodied, But Unbowed album from Desperado which was shelved due to the most insane reasons and of course the Widowmaker records. The man never gave up but as the book closes you see that Dee's fifteen minutes of fame were pretty much up or were they?

     Shut Up And Give Me The Mic is truly a must read for the SMF's of Twisted fuckin' Sister. This is the story that Dee wrote himself without any help. Not many metal singers actually do that. We all kind of know who Dee is and despite the ego and PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), Dee has written a book that will make you laugh out loud and see exactly why and how Twisted seemed to fade away so quickly. It's also sets up the 2nd coming of Mr. Fucking Snider and hopefully there's a sequel in the works


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Here's The The deal: Don't Touch Me

Here's The The deal: Don't Touch Me  - Howie Mandel, and Josh Young  3/5


     This is one of those biographies that I was quite interested in reading for obvious reasons. The problem that I had was if I had to give it a bad review someone would just call me an asshole for disliking it. This is a guy that suffers from OCD and ADHD and he probably had a hard time writing this book so I should be fair. As both a reader and a reviewer it's not helping anyone if I lie and say that I liked a book simply because the author has mental health issues. That's not how this works. I read the book and give you an honest opinion, If that makes me an asshole so be it. I think if I lied and told you it was a brilliant book and you bought and thought it sucked you would still call me an asshole for lying.

      The fact is that the book feels like someone with ADHD wrote it, or told it to the ghost writer. Howie had help with this one, but the thing is that if you have ever seen his stand up you know exactly what you're in for. At times it feels a bit disjointed and rushed, but in a way I expected that. What I didn't expect was that Howie is kind of a dick. He pulls these practical jokes on people that are often cruel and not all that funny except to Howie. The thing that I really wanted to read more about was his OCD and how it truly affects his daily life. What kind of triggers he has and just how bad these truly affect him. It's never discussed in length. It's just kind of glossed over and you just have to accept that he doesn't like shaking hands, and that the OCD is a major factor in his life.

     He talks about therapy, but he doesn't really tell you how it's helping him with his illness. We do get to read about his heart issues and he takes you into the thought process that he has about dying and how he actually called people to say goodbye because he truly thought he was going to die. He also talks about the loss of his father to cancer. This is a book that could have offered so much more but Howie held back quite a bit and it brings up more questions about his overall struggles with his mental health issues. That's why I bought the book. I was expecting a whole lot more than was offered.

     As it stands Here's The Deal is a light book that gives you a glimpse of Howie Mandel. His rise as a comic and his OCD and ADHD. The most surprising thing is that he's a bit of a dick who at times tries to come off as a decent family man who is truly thankful for his success despite his being a dick. I don't know if every reader felt the same I did as they read it and I came away less of a Howie Mandel fan because of this book. Sure, he's funny and he's made me laugh, but he's still a dick.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Dark Screams Vol 5

Dark Screams Vol 5 - Brian James Freeman, And Richard Chizmar


     Let's be honest and admit that for horror fans the Dark Scream series is shaping up nicely. It took me a long to appreciate the benefits of anthologies, but as a writer I can appreciate them more because I've been in quite a few and when done right they have the potential to get you noticed. The Dark Screams series is interesting because it takes established writers and puts them together with newer names in one small, well priced digital book. I received this from Netgalley and wasn't sure how well it would stack up against the last volume, but I was pleasantly surprised. The editors have picked some real gems and I can see why this series is still going strong.

     Each story here is solid and while I didn't find a stand out like I did in Vol. 4 I found it just as enjoyable. Let's be honest here and admit that if you're a fan of horror this is a must read volume. It's mixes in some new faces with established authors so you have a chance to find something new to seek out. If you're new to the horror genre this should be required reading. There's no B.S. here and and that's what makes this so good. Brian and Richard have once again picked an amazing set of stories and Dark Screams is certainly a must read anthology series

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dark Screams Vol 4

Dark Screams Vol 4  - Edited By  Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar 5/5


I received a copy of Dark Screams Vol 4 from Netgalley and let's be honest here and admit that the line up here is pretty damn impressive. Clive Barker and Ray Garton alongside Heather Graham, Lisa Morton, and Ed Gorman. This is a line up you would expect big things from and while it does come in at a short 16o pages there's little wiggle room to screw things up. I have never heard of this anthology series before but I'm glad I picked this up. While the Garton, and Barker stories are good the real reason to buy this is because of The Brasher Girl. This story is a homage or a rip off of classic Stephen King and it's creepy and makes you long for the days when horror used to be simple. This is a story that builds up slowly without a great deal of gore. It's a story about obsession and yes, even insanity.

If you've never read horror before this is a good place to start. Each story presents an interesting element to the horror genre. These stories don't follow a simple pattern either. It gives you some great authors to seek out, and for the seasoned veteran it's a nice short read that reminds us that when horror is done right it's fresh and exciting. It's about atmosphere and Hydra has delivered a book that presents five great stories. With a lot of bargain anthologies there's way too much filler but this isn't the case with Vol 4. I do know that I plan on reading the other volumes but hope that they deliver as well as this one did.